Note: This review is from the 2022 Fringe

Suitably littered with a plethora of Pliny references, Boris The Third takes a lively satirical swipe at Britain’s outgoing floppy-haired PM. Set against a backdrop of Thatcher’s Britain, the play focuses on Bozza’s privileged formative year at Eton, and imagines the ensuing farce when he was cast in a play as Richard III.

The stakes are ominously high. Director Fran is desperate to impress her parents, while Katie hopes her performance will allow her to pursue a career in acting. Enter teenage lothario Boris ‘never apologise’ Johnson, who despite being cast in the lead role has failed to learn his lines. At the same time he is being investigated by the school for an illicit party in his dormitory, which he labels as a ‘communal homework gathering’. There are further complications as the compulsive womaniser is going out with Katie but cheats on her with her sister, causing her to muse – with words that might resonate with the British public – ‘he’s a prick but he makes me laugh’.

It’s tightly written and fast-paced, with excerpts from Richard III deftly woven into the performance as part of the play-within-a-play premise. Harry Kershaw imitates the confidence and charm of Britain’s most famous blonde clown with ease, and there are a lot of laughs for the audience from this. At the same time, the darker qualities beneath all of the buffoonery are never far away.

Whilst not the most subtle way to explore the entitlement and motivations of the UK’s 77th prime minister, the production manages to pack in an impressive amount during 60 minutes. Some of the characters and what they represent are a little simplistic – but overall it’s an entertaining piece.

This story of how Boris turned a tragedy into comedy takes an interesting look at how, with superficial charm and cutthroat ambition, he somehow ended up landing Britain’s top job. Hopes are dashed as chaos ensues but, as ever, Boris comes out on top. Or does he?